TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2020 BY MAYER DANZIG
Tell us about your tour vehicle.
Funny question. I used to drive a one ton dually with a fifth wheel pulling a 30 ft slant load horse trailer to all my horse shows and rodeos growing up. Because of that I can drive just about anything including a tour bus.
Once I moved to Nashville and we started Trick Pony back in ’96, we were in a mid nineties Dodge van pulling a tiny trailer that barely fit a 6 piece bands gear. I don’t remember what the mileage was, but it doesn’t matter cause one of our former guitar players stole the van and sold off the stereo, and ANYTHING worth $$ to pay for his meth habit (we weren’t aware he’d fallen off there wagon and under the wheels…). We finally got the van back with all the windows busted out, the seats torn up, and a nasty smell inside we would never be able to remove.
Once we got a record deal on Warner Bros Records and had a few hits under our belt, we moved to a Prevost tour bus with 12 comfy bunks and a front and back lounge, pulling a proper band trailer for all our gear and merchandise. I still travel that way now….and I NEVER take that bus for granted or forget the van days with MANY breakdowns… (once Ira and I put our roller blades on, and tried to roll down the highway to get help cause we had no cell service. Note to self, major highways are NOT made for roller blades, bloody knees and now scars as proof.)
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
The best way to eat healthy on the road is to bring your food pre-prepared. I bring healthy dishes, and essentials for most of my bus runs, and then you add the items on your rider like waters, wine, beer, and healthy snacks like turkey jerky and lunch meat roll ups, etc. Twizzlers are my go-to for sweets, also on my rider. Of course, if we are in some amazing place known for something especially delicious, I have NO problem calling that a cheat day… and I enjoy it with my band and crew.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
I am lucky to have a string endorsement, so they are provided for free. Back in the day, I guess a pack of strings cost around 15-20$ each.
Where do you rehearse?
I either use one of two rehearsal halls in Nashville called SIR or Sound Check….but if I’m just doing a small tune up for my live show, I use a funky cheap little room in East Nashville called The Purple Building. It’s vibey. All of these are dog friendly, which is essential. My dog Gustus has to be able to hang.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
“That Was Then, and This Is Now”. I can’t even remember how it went now ‘cause I wrote it when I was like 8 years old… but I remember the melody and I thought it was the shit back then. Haha!! Thank God we live and learn, although the title is still quite relevant, I must say.
Describe your first gig.
My first gig was at the age of 6. I remember it well. I was on a big trail ride up in Northern California, it was a Sat night, and they had a big steak dinner and open bar. The band was called The Buffalo Butter Band and they were set up on the back of a long flat bed trailer and running everything off a big generator.
I walked up in between songs, and tugged on the lead guitar player’s shirt and asked “Can I sing a few songs with you Mr?” He said yes and asked me what I wanted to sing…I said “Delta Dawn….Key of C!” There was about 200 people there, and my parents were back by the bar…. they both nearly fainted. That applause changed the course of my life. I knew immediately what I wanted to do for a living, and I’ve never veered off that path. I never had a ‘plan B’….
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
Waiting tables at a very nice restaurant in Nashville called The Bound’ry. I made good money back then. I waited on every producer, hit songwriter, big publisher, and star in town. (I have the goods on who the bad tippers were haha!) That was back in about 1995. I have been lucky to make a living making music professionally ever since then. What was my favorite day job? Same answer. I made some great and life long friends there. One of them is my FOH engineer now.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
I have been fortunate to stay busy on the road and be a lot smarter with my money than when I had my first taste of success. (If you’ve never HAD money, you’re bound to do some stupid spending at first, that’s where a good accountant comes in.) I think my income has had its ebbs and flows over the past 25 years, but overall, I’ve been very fortunate to live well in the music business. I have learned to diversify a bit, and I am glad I listened to some of my heroes who told me to invest in real estate. Those investments keep my bills paid when things are in an ebb… like right now during this horrible pandemic.
What do I expect it to look like 5-10 years from now? I expect to be busier than ever on the road in the next 5-10 years. I think my income will increase dramatically with the release of this new album The Barfly Sessions Vol.1 on Aug 28th… and diversification of the music itself and the music that will follow…. We have to be extra creative in finding new exciting ways to get our music out to the people in this day and age…. it’s a challenge, but with a team that believes in me… an open mind, and hard work… it is totally doable. My mantra is….”You can’t lose if you never quit!”
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
I wish I’d have known to ALWAYS trust my gut. Your gut instinct is God talking to you and He’s NEVER been wrong!
A Northern California native (Healdsburg, specifically), Newfield grew up on a Quarter Horse ranch and chose a music career as a teenager, eventually riding Trick Pony hits including “Pour Me,” “On a Night Like This” and “It’s a Heartache” to awards, acclaim and packed houses. Her solo work and the runaway success of “Johnny & June” brought a fist full of Academy of Country Music nominations and her multi-faceted creativity into sharper relief. With her new solo album, she’s completed the journey to fully realized artist.